Wednesday, May 8, 2013

NBA Slytherin

Introducing...that OTHER team in green that we all love to hate!

CHASERS: Stephen Curry (GS), Brandon Jennings (MIL), Kobe Bryant (LAL)

Jennings: In perhaps the most controversial decision in Slytherin since former captain Marcus Flint was granted an 8th year of eligibility (he's a 6th year in Book 1, yet still around in Book 3), Brandon Jennings chose to go play at Durmstrang for a year, rather than submit to the "first years can't have brooms" (unless you're the once and future savior of wizarding kind) rule at Hogwarts. That sort of audacity landed him an immediate spot in Slytherin when he returned to the UK, and he quickly established himself as a chaser's chaser, scoring 55 points in one of his first career matches (to keep the basketball/quidditch parallel from falling apart here, I'll let you determine how he was credited for 5 1/2 goals). On a team that's loaded with talented gunners, it remains to be seen whether Slytherin is indeed where Jennings "makes his real friends", as the old Sorting song goes.

Kobe: If the Chamber of Secrets were opened today, one could make a pretty solid case that Kobe is the Heir of Slytherin. As far as ambition (Salazar's favorite personality trait) goes, has the NBA ever had a more shamelessly ambitious player in its history? No. How about pureblood status? His father, Joe "Every Flavor Bean" Bryant had a long and prosperous career back when Armando Dippet was Headmaster at Hogwarts. The guy's nickname is "the Black Mamba", so I think we can pretty much guarantee that he's a Parselmouth, Sal Slytherin's claim to fame. Imagine the look on Pau Gasol's face the first time he was harshly bitched out in Pareseltongue after yet another dropped quaffle. As for potential Death Eater ties, one can look no further than that weird knee operation he had over in Germany last year to rejuvenate his knees to their younger form. Exactly how much unicorn blood is mixed in during this Regenokine procedure? Add this together, and Kobe playing chaser for Slytherin is the absolute best fit on the entire list.

Curry: Is Stephen Curry a "bad" guy? No, it doesn't seem like it, so then why would I put him in Slytherin?  I'll start off by making a quick note of his status as a pureblood (his pops Dell had a long and productive NBA career in the 90s) before moving on to what I feel is a basic misconception about Slytherins that JK Rowling doesn't do much to dissuade us from. Just because all Dark Wizards (whatever that even means) supposedly have come from Slytherin, that doesn't necessarily mean that all Slytherins are Dark Wizards. And as it's Hagrid who first lets Harry know that "there's not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn't in Slytherin", I'll point out that Hagrid is an idiot, and this statement is incorrect anyway. For instance, Grindelwald "went bad", and became an infamous Dark Wizard. Grindelwald went to Durmstrang and could therefore not have been in Slytherin. Now, if Hagrid was specifically referring to just the Hogwarts wizards, he needs to clarify this point, to avoid making yet another of his prejudiced and insensitive comments that he always seems to get a free pass for just because he's Hagrid. 

Back to Stephen Curry. The trait that solidifies him in my mind as a clear-cut Slytherin is his annoying tendency to get 'cooled up' too much when playing basketball.  To those unfamiliar with the term, 'getting cooled up' can best be defined as "a noticeable difference in behavior or mannerisms as a direct result of doing something unexpectedly awesome".  If this doesn't quite make it clear,  feel free to check out the greatest and most accurate film depiction of what it means to be getting cooled up, from Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character during the scene right after he has sex for the first time in "500 Days of Summer". That should clear up any confusion you might have about the term.

Make no mistake, Curry is an incredible player, and watching him completely take over for an entire quarter or half at Oracle Arena is absolutely thrilling. However, for someone with his skill level, every time he hits 2 or 3 shots in a row, he doesn't need to get that amused/pretending to be shocked smile on his face, start clapping his hands slower and more precisely, or hop around all over the court. Michael Jordan put on one of the greatest shooting streaks in NBA history when he hit 6 threes in a row against Portland in the Finals (and remember, Jordan was not a good three point shooter)--and yet he only got cooled up ONE time (the shoulder shrug towards press row) during all of this. With that as the standard, it becomes clear that Stephen Curry might be overdoing it a little. James Potter was the same way when he spotted the snitch and knew that it was just a short time until he caught it and ended the game. Snape hated this, but couldn't quite verbalize it to Harry decades later, saying that James used to "strut around the castle" in his day. Harry was deeply offended. "My father didn't strut. He got cooled up". And so does Stephen Curry. 

BEATERS: Reggie Evans (BKN), Omer Asik (HOU)

Evans and Asik: Slytherin has long been notorious for having sheer brawn and intimidating physicality as their only criteria at this position (rather than, you know, any skill at all), leading to some famously goonish beater combinations. However, not even Bole and Derrick, or Crabbe and Goyle (I always suspected that JK just threw those guys on the team so she wouldn't have to make up two new meaningless characters) could hold a candle to the brutish front-court that NBA Slytherin has put together. Neither can make a free throw to save their lives, but I'm pretty sure that Evans and Asik have by now stumbled upon most, if not all, of the possible ways to commit a foul in basketball, though the number is considerably less than the 700 possible quidditch infractions.

GOALKEEPER: Kevin Garnett (BOS) *Captain

Garnett: This legendary trash talker brings a fierce mean streak and competitiveness to the lineup. In describing Slytherin, the Sorting Hat was not kidding around when he mentioned that "those cunning folk use any means/To achieve their ends". Even if those means require researching your opponents' insecurities and creating as derogatory of insults as possible to exploit said insecurities. Can you imagine the riot that would break out in the Great Hall on game day when Garnett starts barking obscenities about Harry's deceased parents across the breakfast table? 
"Hey Potter, your mom tastes like Chocolate Frogs!!! At least, She USED TO!!"

One of these days, Garnett is going to get a Sectumsempra, and it's going to be completely justified.

SEEKER: Chris Paul (LAC) *Prefect

Paul: Undeniably talented, ambitious, with a squeaky clean PR image to go along with countless ministry donations and sports-potion commercials, Chris Paul is the man around the Slytherin dungeons. With Paul's superb snitch-handling skills, Slytherin is immediately a threat to win every game he plays in. However, despite pressure by Snape to promote this prefect to Head Boy, Dumbledore hesitates. He seems to see a more sinister side to this pupil, a side that the glowing Daily Prophet headlines don't quite catch. Looking beneath the surface, is Chris Paul's "never say die" competitiveness on the quidditch pitch a not-so-subtle indication of Death Eater activity once his playing career is finished?

They're arrogant, they're mean, and they're thuggish, but let's face it, this Slytherin team is flat out loaded. At this point, they're heavy favorites to take home the Larry O'Brien Quidditch Cup and add to the Slytherin dynasty. 

Ravenclaw's intelligent but ultimately pedestrian lineup will be released next.

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